Wisbech firm that built £2million leisure complex at Tydd St Giles goes bust owing £1.6million
- Credit: Archant
BOASTFUL managing director David Worrall drank champagne to toast completion of a £2 million leisure complex but the next day he quit. It had gone horribly flat. Within weeks his firm went bust owing £1.6 million.
What happened to bring down Bespoke Oak Supplies Ltd is the subject of investigation by a London firm of insolvency practitioners but the firm’s sudden demise has left many small sub contractors at their wits end.
Unsecured creditors include Bourne Blinds & Flooring of Marshland St James owed £10,500, MKM Building Supplies of Kings Lynn owed £27,700, R J Wilson Electrical of Fleet owed £18,200, S Pope Groundswork of Elm owed £39,000, S Hodgeson Engineering of Kings Lynn owed £20,700, Yves Court Investments of Wisbech owed £10,800 and T G Roofing of Wisbech owed £4,200.
A provisional report prepared by liquidators Marsh Hammon and Partners LLP show HM Revenue and Customs is owed £350,000 and Jewson Building Supplies Ltd of Kings Lynn £32,000.
Biggest creditor though is Robin Syrett of Beauchamp Place, London, who is shown as being owed £1.046million. In a statement by director Paul Woods and distributed to a creditors meeting Mr Syrett is shown as having invested over £1million into Bespoke Oak Supplies Ltd.
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Mr Worrall – an old boy of Wisbech Grammar School whose parents once ran Friday Bridge Camp- had grand hopes for future oak built centres.
“I don’t see why the Fens has such a bad name,” he told me. “You have to have a vision- and the building at Tydd is a vision. It is not only national but international and if anyone knocks this place they have an axe to grind.”
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But even as he spoke Mr Worrall was either in denial about the parlous state of affairs of his company or unaware of them. He has not been available for comment.
Most of the background to what happened in the early part of this year has been provided in written testimony by Mr Wood to the creditors.
He said Bespoke Oak Supplies Ltd was formed “off the back of our building background” where main interests had previously been barn conversions and one off builds.
The business grew rapidly, he said, and was financially supported by Robin Syrett and the company agreed terms with Pure Leisure to build a large oak framed leisure complex at Tydd St Giles Golf Club.
“I found myself over stretched running the builds and answering all the technical questions throughout and the same time quoting for new work,” said Mr Wood.
He said he had no time “to watch over the office” and had no access to the firm’s on line banking or bank statements.
“I was never aware of the daily management of finances,” he said. “There was no management in place controlling the daily management of the business.”
Mr Wood said that the Tydd project opened on time but “the managing director resigned after the opening day.
“He solely had access to the online baking account. We had no money in the account and had exceeded the overdraft limit.
“The investor Mr Syrett was not prepared to invest any more as he had already exceeded what he wanted to invest. He had invested over £1 million. “
In his statement to liquidators Mr Wood makes unproven allegations against company staff and also insists “I personally did not take a salary or wage from the company.”
With no money to pay creditors and no access to a vehicle as all lease payments had not been met “I felt backed into a corner.”
Joint liquidator Patricia Marsh said their investigations into the downfall of Bespoke Oak Supplies Ltd had only just begun. The reasons for the firm’s failure were not yet established and she welcomed any information that could assist.
Her company recognised the difficulties with an insolvency of this scale “and we do often see the domino affect where suppliers owed money find the debts so great it is difficult for them to continue trading.”
But she insisted the process now in hand would be “open and above board” which was why all those creditors who have come forward have been given up to date information.
According to her report Robert James Syrett owned 99 of the 100 £1 ordinary shares of Bespoke Oak Supplies Ltd and he resigned on March 12 this year. Robin Frederick Syrett owned one ordinary share and he too quit the same day.
David Ian Worrall resigned on February 18.
Action against Bespoke Oak Supplies Ltd began on April 17 when a winding up petition was presented by Jewson Ltd in the royal Court of Justices.
On April 23 Ms Marsh reported on a creditors meeting held earlier that day when Bespoke Oak Supplies Ltd was “placed into creditors’ voluntary liquidation’.
She has asked all creditors to contact her with their claims and says app9ointment of a liquidator “is likely to have a substantial bearing on whether or not a successful court action will ultimately render you some commercial benefit”.
Meanwhile a company with the name Bespoke Oak UK Design and Build has been set up on an industrial estate in Kings Lynn.
A Facebook page links through to the old website of Bespoke Oak of Wisbech but a man who describes himself as the owner of the Kings Lynn insisted it was unconnected with the Fenland company.
He said he had just set up in business, his email was only a week old, and he had no Facebook or website connection.